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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Numbers

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PART 2: To Canaan

The second part covers the travel from Sinai to Kadesh and the events along the way.

Ch.10: [Action] Leaving Sinai

- Breaking camp

Ch.11: [Action] Complaints, Fire, Quail, Plague

- First grumblings, discipline, meat provided and plague follows

Ch.12: [Action] Internal Opposition

- Aaron & Miriam complain & are disciplined



FRAMEWORKS: Numbers 12: Internal Opposition


v.1-4 Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses

v.5-9 The Lord Reprimands them

v.10-12 Aaron pleads on Miriam's behalf

v.13-16 Miriam is excluded for a week before being healed



v.1-4 Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses


v.1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.

v.2  “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn't he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.

v.3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)

v.4 At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out.


[Notes: Rather bizarrely but very humanly, Moses' older brother and sister get jealous about their brother and grumble together – but the Lord hears and calls the three of them to come to the tent.]



v.5-9 The Lord Reprimands them


v.5 Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward,

v.6 he said, “Listen to my words:

“When there is a prophet among you,   I, the Lord , reveal myself to them in visions,   I speak to them in dreams.
v.7 But this is not true of my servant Moses;   he is faithful in all my house.
v.8 With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles;   he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

v.The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.


[Notes: The Lord reprimands the two of them.]



v.10-12 Aaron pleads on Miriam's behalf


v.10  When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam's skin was leprous—it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease,

v.11  and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed.

v.12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother's womb with its flesh half eaten away.”


[Notes: Miriam appears leprous and Aaron pleads with Moses. The fact that only Miriam was leprous suggests either that it was Miriam who instigated the grumbling or the Lord spared Aaron to maintain the honour of his role as high priest.]



v.13-16 Miriam is excluded for a week before being healed


v.13 So Moses cried out to the Lord , “Please, God, heal her!”

v.14 The Lord replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.”

v.15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.

v.16 After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran.


[Notes: The Lord tells Moses that Miriam is to be outcast from the camp for a week as discipline and only then will she be healed and can return.]